Monday, September 17, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links



1.  A most diverting and interesting web site. You can find the current wind direction and speed for any place on earth.

2.  A paper is retracted even before it was published. Not because it was wrong, but because it was upsetting. And then an update.

3. I'm lost. Is this real, or just a highly apt metaphor?

4.  "Even" progressive academics? I'm amazed that anyone is taken in.

5.  The markets/state dichotomy is bad social science, and even worse rhetoric for our side.

6. Good lord: "Does the reification of objectivity and detachment in the discipline serve to reinforce status hierarchies more than produce sound science?"  This is not from the English Dept. It's from an actual social scientist (well, a sociologist; but c'mon). For the record, the answer to the question in quotes is "no."

7.  The fact that the officer was yelling "Let me in!" makes it seem less likely that she was confused about which apartment she was entering. Still, a strange incident, all around.

8. Manhattan boat evacuation on 9-11-01 was the largest boatlift in history.

9.  Wow. Venezuela currently holds the record for self-inflicting de-development, abandoning both prosperity and democracy. But Turkey appears to want to give them a run for their money.

10. Once again, Cass Sunstein reveals that he favors soft fascism, with his technoclerics in charge, over democracy.

11.  Amazon sells reductions in transaction costs for consumers. The result is affecting real estate prices for warehouses.

12. The threat of "genius" in architecture.

13.  Good Lord. It's like I don't even KNOW you people.  Best Mexican Restaurant:  TB

14. Fall....in the South.

15. The NATION, on the "Inequality Industry." Interesting take, from a source I rarely read.

16.  State fought the cash. And the cash won.

17. Quite a bit of stuff here on the 10th anniversary of Lehman Bros.  Some of it is right, but not all of it.

18.  Drew Millard on Trump and Florence....

19. Evidence on the supply side of the gender wage gap.

20. Nice data visualization of US federal budget, since 1963.

21. On price-gouging. Courtesy of Florence.

22. Revolving doors and regulatory capture.

23.  The real cost of rent-seeking.

24. In the People's Republic of Carrboro, there is a rational person. His name is David Mabe.

25.  Just a few years ago, a number of people on the left were talking about how Venezuela was a model for development in the region, precisely BECAUSE it was "real socialism." Now, it is not real socialism, and never was.  It would be funny, if it weren't so not funny.

26. Skippy Squirrelbane is ready to suit up and get back in the game. He's old. But New England needs him and his talents.  Here is Skippy on the phone, talking to Squirrel Headquarters: "I have a very particular set of skillls...."

27.  My review of Philippe Van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght's book, BASIC INCOME.


Grand Lagniappe: the stores don't run out of EVERYTHING, as a hurricane approaches


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Leavin' on a jet plane.....


Very cool new paper just out in the QJE by Campante and Yanagizawa-Drott.

Here's the abstract :


We study the impact of international long-distance flights on the global spatial allocation of economic activity. To identify causal effects, we exploit variation due to regulatory and technological constraints, which gives rise to a discontinuity in connectedness between cities at a distance of 6,000 miles. We show that improving an airport’s position in the network of air links has a positive effect on local economic activity, as captured by satellite-measured night lights. We find that air links increase business links, showing that the movement of people fosters the movement of capital. In particular, this is driven mostly by capital flowing from high-income to middle-income (but not low-income) countries. Taken together, the results suggest that increasing interconnectedness induces links between businesses and generates economic activity at the local level but also gives rise to increased spatial inequality locally, and potentially globally.

And you can see an ungated version of the paper here.


The regression discontinuity design exploits the rule that flights over 12 hours need a third pilot. That worked out to be flights of over 6000 miles. So city pair flight connectedness drops at that 6000 mile point due to the discontinuity in costs. This exogenous variation in connectedness creates variation in economic activity.

Nice to see a paper with super cool identification also be about something important!  And this isn't the first such paper for Yanagizawa-Drott, as he also wrote the excellent "hate radio in Rwanda" paper.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links!



1.  Interesting effect. It's probably actually an effect, to the extent that the sex of child is random. On the other hand, another interesting effect on female labor participation.

2.  Trends in kids' media use, 1976-2016.

3.  The Dub-MOE's review of "Illiberal Reformers." Nice.

4.  Of all the nonsense and dumb stuff government does, it is odd that the first thing cut back is libraries.  They aren't public goods, exactly, but they are extremely efficient mechanisms for sharing at low transaction costs.

5.  I was skeptical of Ms. Williams' claim about sex-based difference in treatments. But this makes a pretty strong case. I may just be wrong; I certainly don't know enough about tennis to have a valid idea what I'm talking about.

6.  "Various Clown Paintings," by Mike Cockrill. WARNING: This is not a happy thing. Unless you hate clowns. With thanks, sort of, to Amy Alkon.

7.  I'm INTJ.  Of course, that may not mean anything, actually.

8.  Jeffrey Tucker, on the reaction. To this.

9.  Oh, YEAH? Well, I'll just shoot myself in the OTHER foot, then.

10. Mike Shildt....from bottom rung at the grocery to top step of the dugout.

11. MAGA makeover of Nike commercial....

Grand Lagniappe: Dave Chappelle...."I want to wear Nikes, I don't want to have to make them."  As succinct a summary of comparative advantage as you'll ever hear.


Monday, September 03, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links



1.  Good for NPR. This is a very useful piece of reporting.  And it makes the other kinds of claims NPR makes more credible. (Pro-tip for Fox News: This is how news works....)

2. An amazing definition of sexism: any woman who decides to have children and raise them rather than "work" (!) is a victim.

3. New Hampshire: Live Bitcoin or Die!

4. Open inquiry in the classroom.

5.  Avital.

6.  Florida man is angry about bad restaurant review.

7.  Hard to know just how to explain this....

8.  Hard to know if they were expelled because they are atheists, or because the God they don't believe in is Allah.

9.  I hope these people don't have children, or even dogs, for that matter.

10.  Peak badass. What did you do today?

11.  Playing to a better democracy.

12.  How Trump survives....

13. Interesting and thoughtful review of T3.0 at Trotsky's Children.

14. U.S. companies on costs of tariffs....

15.  "Sprinting Naked Man." Sounds like a superhero.  I guess he sort of IS a superhero.

Grand Lagniappe: Port of Amsterdam video....

Monday, August 27, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links!




1. The Tembro Sharing Economy Index (TSEI)

2.  Why do intellectuals hate entrepreneurs, but envy profits?

3. The "We must DO something!" people are, as usual, making things worse. This law is going to harm people with legitimate pain, while doing essentially nothing to stop overdoses and new addictions. Note well: new addictions are only rarely using medication prescribed for them.  I understand; your uncle's cousin's sister's friend's dogsitter got addicted that way. In terms of statistics, that is just NOT how addiction generally happens. "Fixing" that problem makes things worse, not better.

4.  A. Salter calls foul on Lubbock A-J. And rightly so.

5.  Profits.

6.  Man with no arms and no legs commits double murder. Now is armed and on the run. A Florida story.

7.  The art auction of the century. Or perhaps of late August.

8.  An economics joke.

9.  Political Libertarianism, by JT Levy

10.  Climate change and Aussie politics.

11. FDA: We got this. Milk is animal juice, not plant or nut juice. Because...well, because we say so.

12.  Dude. If you hate women this much, you shouldn't live in Katy....

13.  If you think people on the left, or the religious right, care about poor people and orphans....well, not so much. Pawns in a bigger game. (UPDATED IN RESPONSE TO COMMENT)

14.  Mere civility.

15.  JFK's Harvard application essay. Why blame the guy? He understood what he wanted and how Harvard would help him get there.

16. It's been fifty years since Prague Spring.  I just that "Trump Winter is Coming" is an unfounded fear....

17.  This is the best thing I've seen from Bad Lip Reading. Inspired.

18.  Florida Man. Not just some cash, but some donuts, and "off the secret menu."

19.  This is hilarious. Also sad. Note the date: May 2017. Outwitted and outmaneuvered at every turn. Yup, that's exactly wot hoppint.

20. The 1980s were the high point of terrible animation put to song. Magnificent.

21. Nice piece by D-Drez. We have SOMETHING to thank Mr. Trump for. Plus, Paul Krugman now occasionally remembers that he was once an economist

 The Grand Lagniappe: A baby aardvark. Looks like an alien/reptile rabbit/cute baby all in one.








Monday, August 06, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links!




1.  They've got dead horses, don't they?

2. I don't know. Those Swedes are a little crazy.

3. I must admit: Ketchup packets bug me. Seems like a lot of packaging for very little ketchup, and much of it gets left in the packet. I understand there must be no cheaper way to deliver it, and monitor overuse (ketchup is more expensive than plastic), but ketchup packets bug me. They may not be around much longer.

4. Do WalMart "Supercenters" improve food security? Spoiler alert: For the most part, yes.

5. Trump lied. People yawned.

6.  Manhattan DA to stop prosecuting pot cases, at least for personal possession of small amounts.

7. The real problem is conservative McCarthyism, according to CGK's John Hardin. He is not wrong.

8. That forkin' blockchain...

9.  Mmmmm.....bbq. Best practices. Aluminum foil.

10. Russ Roberts and outrage. (He's against it)

11.  Editing a human.

12.  Is "free" consistent with "freedom"?

13. You probably don't understand the "blockchain." That's okay. Most people don't.

14.  Maduro is one of the very best illustrations of Hayek's "Why the Worst Get on Top." But even this schlomozzle is willing to admit their idiotic approach to socialism has "failed."

15.  It is odd that we have screening for airplanes, and not for water plants, electricity substations, and major highway tunnels. But maybe we won't have so much screening for airlines, at smaller airports at least.

14. Ontario ends UBI experiment, two years early.

15.  Timmy's in the well! Go get help, Lassie. Or at least dig out from the pillows.

16. The end of tipping?

17.  Things may seem bad. But as long as there are ice cream trucks, there is hope. And, there ARE ice cream trucks.

18. Vitruvius.

19.  Predicting fiscal crises.

20.  Measuring output, and prices, and productivity.

21. In the early 1990s I was often told, in condescending tones, that "Europeans are different.  We will have no trouble with opening our borders, because we are multicultural, unlike you reactionary Americans." Well, some Europeans are different. But not many.

22.  Books on speech.

23. Software eats the world. But some claims are, at best, exaggerated.




Grand Lagniappe:  Okay, Millenial Friends. This has totally happened to you, admit it.







Monday, July 30, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links!



1.  Only in Texas. Smokin' hot tortilla chips. No, really, smokin'. Twice. Or four times.

2.  Vomit fraud, by Uber drivers. It's easy to send a photo, of course. But it wasn't that passenger.  One guy was "lucky" enough to get defrauded twice in one day. Uber decided no one is that full.... 

3.  Our favorite headlines.  That's the Rhode Island version.  Then

4. On immigration, and the first stone....

5.  On the airline seat comfort question, I think the evil airline CEOs have a point.  The default is a relatively roomy, but expensive seat. If you want a DISCOUNT, then you want the smaller seat.  But then you can't complain that the seat is smaller. That's why it's cheaper!  If you don't want the smaller seat, pay the standard price.

6.  Hess's "Triangle of Spite." And more about the Hess Triangle.

7. Ocasio-Cortez, whatever she is, is NOT a socialist.  Our president, on the other hand...

8.  The "hot water challenge." Really? What is wrong with you people?

9.  This is NSFW. It's actually not safe for anything, and you shouldn't watch it. But some of the bad puns are pretty good. Still, you'll never get that  6  minutes back. Don't blame me. But it's a guy using the worst pickup lines in history, badly. What could be wrong with that? For context, that's all in response to this sort of thing.

10.  Ms. McArdle enters the lion's den, and says a lot of things that make sense. She will be publicly shamed for this, of course. The comments will be worth reading, if you like unintentional self-parody by half-wits.

11. Interesting commentary on the nature of competition. Neo-classical conception is that everyone is a price-taker. The "main line" economics answer (thanks, Peter Boettke) is that there are viable alternatives available to consumers. The point is that price-setters can still be disciplined by "competition," if regulators will allow it.

12.  It is far more likely, ridiculously more likely, that your child will be hurt in your house or in your car, than standing alone in a park or walking on a street. But so many people virtue signal ("I care") about nonsense.  We think nothing of the child being in our house, or car. Because the chances of danger are not THAT high there. The point is that the chance of your child being snatched by a stranger are much LESS than that. Kids should be free range.



13.  Your dog is MORE human than you think. Or, maybe less.

14. Understanding trade deficits.  And some more.

15. "Ghosting" employers. You can understand why young people might do this, because they feel they are not being respected or valued by employers. But it hastens the "gig economy."

16.  It's one measure of a society to look at how many of its citizens are caged up like animals. But its even worse when nearly 3/4 of the people put in cages have not even been convicted of a crime.

17.  The English Premier League is capitalist. The NBA is socialist.

18. The Koch brothers have principles. You may not agree with them, or not all of them. But this is a strange way to write about the attempt to shame CGK by saying he is not Trump ENOUGH.

19.  Alcohol and caffeine made civilization.

20. One thing that Ayn Rand and Immanuel Kant agreed on was this: your moral principle must generalize. This one doesn't .

21. I don't know that Harry Truman checked out Mozart while he did Tae Bo. But his story does remind us that there's room to grow.

22. Syndrome E



Grand Lagniappe:  This seems okay. But what if the "earth moves" because...well....you know. What then? (UPDATE: My "friend" Megan McArdle of the Wapo commented that I was too old to be jumping on the bed. It's good to have friends, isn't it?)




Monday, July 23, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links!



1.  What sort of person does this? It's not like running a red light. There was no chance of this working out well.

2.  There has to be more to this story.  The "she's from Ukraine, they do things differently there" defense seems weak to me. A bit different viewpoint here. I do have to say that anyone who has been around a toddler for more than about an hour has considered hanging as a solution.....

3.  Trump is wrong about the EU. But he is not entirely wrong about NATO.

4.  There is little to no evidence that voluntary pre-K programs do any good. All the positive results come from non-random assignment, meaning that educated and motivated parents are likely the cause, NOT the pre-K program. A randomized trial finds no effect. The problem: the main difference is educational environment in the home the kids are NOT staying home at.  Pre-K has to help some children, it's just hard to find a way to measure that accurately.

5.  The policy of restricting or taxing plastic bags does essentially zero good. It is however (1) inconvenient and (2) pleasing to people who like to suffer inconvenience as a way of showing their love for the earth in pointless, and therefore religiously useful, ways.

6.  A problem with the "road" to liberty.  You might want to be a directionalist, like I am.

7. Iga is having a ninja shortage.

8.  At least the Manchurian Candidate PRETENDED he cared about the U.S.  This guy, not so much.

9.  MoovMo.

10.   Russia gets another pass.

11.  "Places of Persistence: Slavery and the Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States."

12.  Putting the "crow" into necrophilia.


13.  It's just cultural appropriation to impose your own, multicultural standards on the great works of the past. Some humility, younglings....

14.  This is not the Onion. This guy actually thinks that trolling people on the web is the key to success in mass elections.  No, really, he does.

15. Slavery did not make the U.S. rich. It made some people rich, and a lot of others poor.

16. The loss of a common culture. I don't think Deneen is entirely right, but he is certainly NOT entirely wrong.

17.  Not sure this is real. But it may be.

18. The tide of free speech....has it turned, on college campuses?

19.  All campaign strategies are local....

20.  My piece for the "The Hill," on UBI.

21. I'm sorry, ma'am. You've been deleted. Wow.

22. Cutest thing you'll see today: This little girl saw an abandoned broken water heater at the curb, waiting to be taken away. She thought it was a robot. And the cuteness ensued.

23. Why haven't higher wages (at the top end) reduced work hours? An interesting commentary on price effects and income effects of labor "supply." Or, are you willing to pay $1,000 an hour to go sailing? Even if you are really rich?

24. Why?  A drive-by bicycle shooting.

25. The road to socialism: Venezuela.

26. Black Jeopardy on SNL. One of them (the best, I think). Then anotherA third. Like all good comedy, it's partly mocking something directly. But it's also got some things that make your skin crawl and think about why that's not actually funny.

27.  Trans men on being men, compared to being women.

28. Talent

This, from V. Postrel.   What's more inclusive than extreme, semi-religious food taboos in the workplace?  The grand lagniappe, from Randy Simmons, in reaction to VP's article:









Monday, July 16, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links!

Sorry to have been away. But I've been away. First in Erlangen and Munich, Germany. Then in Edmonton, in Northern Alberta.  Both really fun.  Back in Raleigh now....

To the links.... 

1.  Amazing application of pure fairness. The town would benefit from using an auction instead. And the individuals who "win" the lottery would benefit from allowing a secondary market. So, an interesting example for class.  The graveyard lottery, in Germany.

2. Why are wages not rising? Of course, in some areas, they are.

3.  George Will writes a column on baseball. And I like it. Perhaps neither of those things is surprising.  But it is a REALLY good column.

4.  Hindcasting global population densities reveals forces enabling the origin of agriculture

5.   Right to try.

6.  Nipples.

7.  The WaPo is upset with the Oklahoma incident because two citizens responded and killed the shooter. Apparently the faster action that likely saved lives is LESS important than the fact that having armed citizens made the situation "more complicated for police." As if our objective is primarily to make life simple for police. Citizens are pretty much on their own. As we already know....

8.  Dude had a bad day.  Why in the world was he insisting they pull over? Anyway, it didn't go well.

9.  I'm going to guess that this sort of thing is quite common. We only know about it because of the police body cams.  If police want to be respected, they'll need to be respectable.  But it's hard, because the state provides conditions where the worst will always get on top.

10. Some people assume that wealth may substitute for genetic fitness, meaning that rich morons will be over-represented in the population. But Mr. Darwin has ways of taking care of that. (The guy didn't die. But he did learn some wisdom, I hope).

11. Starfish v. Spider education systems.

12. Guilds? There is no guarantee that the "firm" in its traditional form is optimal in the non-traditional future....

13. Not only is "Dead Salmon" a color, the producer is unironically (I think) doubling down on it as being "magical."

14.  "How White People Handle Diversity Training." This may not be entirely true, but I bet it's also not entirely false.

15. Since it is not easy to climb up out of poverty, it almost HAS to be true that a dogged belief that one CAN climb up out of poverty is a prerequisite.

16. That word "foe" you keep using. President Trump, I don't think it means what you think it means.

17. Realistic Marketing: Bird Scooter edition.

18.  I have colleagues at Duke who sincerely believe that Cuba's labor system is non-exploitative, and that Cuba's health care system is the best in the world. These claims are both absurd.

19.  A better way to run schools...

20.  Okay, goodONya and all, mates. But does "naked gay farmer" really evoke "mental health" as an association, in the minds of most people? On the other hand, they are likely right that it makes people pay attention.

The Grand Lagniappe, Copa Mundial edition: 538 takes another one in the shorts. The average goals scored per game this Cup tournament was about 2.65.  The standard deviation was about 1.2 goals (actually, it was less than that, but let's say.)  That means that 538 made an almost 3 sigma error, assuming even then that "very few goals" is equal to "average number of goals."  Why do we even have a government, if people are allowed to make such bad predictions?











Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Bluewater and the LMM


So. The YYM drove over to the beach compound for the night. We went for dinner, because that's what you do. Went to Bluewater, a tourist place but with a very nice view of the IntWat. I wore my "Dad clothes."

The LMM took a photo, but I can't post it, on which more anon. Will try, though. As soon as we sat down, the LMM decided that she would like to be the center of attention, as befits a Queen exiled to wed a commoner like me. So she kicked both her sweater and her purse into the ocean.

(Two things: 1. Why did she have a sweater? It's 95 and direct, bright sun where we are sitting. If you have to ask that, you don't know the LMM. She always needs a sweater. 2. Okay, she didn't kick it into the ocean. She kicked it into the IntWat. Nonetheless, there it was ten feet below the rail where we were peering over at it, floating, a purse/sweater clump of flotsam in nasty saltwater. Not Jetsam. Flotsam. Words have meanings....)

The LMM appeared to believe that if she just yelled LOUDLY enough at the purse/sweater clump, it would magically do what she wanted. To be fair, this works at our house, but then she is dealing with me, or the dogs, and we are all afraid of her, and have some capacity for independent movement. If she yells at home, then action is taken and things get done.

"I dropped my purse! I dropped my purse!" And pointing. Everything in the large restaurant stopped, and I think some people up on the highway bridge likely looked out their windows. The LMM is not large, but she has considerable vocal puissance.

I jumped heavily over the rail, and landed heavily down on the dock. Unsurprislingly, another fellow, aroused by the yelling, also jumped over the rail, and got there faster. (He was not as heavy). He fetched the flotsam, and delivered it to the LMM, dripping (the flotsam was dripping, not the guy, and not the LMM).

All the tables (well, the people AT the tables) around us started telling each other of times that they had had something similar happen. And giving advice about how to save the iPhone (rice. Always with the rice). Anyway, before long a little kid at the next table tipped over a big glass of iced tea, and won the "new center of attention award" away from the LMM. But for a few minutes, she was the "It Girl" of the Bluewater.

I'll try to post the pictures, if the rice works. We used the LMM's phone to take the pictures..... (With thanks to Donna Gingerella for the entertainment portion of the dinner, and a show).